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Akiva Khalsa

Trying to find the type of vibe that we can touch the sky with

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Akiva Khalsa

Failure was not an option, not with what was awaiting for Akiva at the apartment she had grown up in. There was only despair waiting for her there. There was anger and disgust, and somehow betrayal, as if Akiva had asked the Gods when she was but a babe in her mother's womb to grant her these powers that made her mother believe she was demon spawn. At an early age, Akiva knew that the only way she would ever escape her mother and that one small corner of the living room that had been sectioned off with a tattered old bed sheet hung from the ceiling, was to excel at school, to learn how to make it on her own because the woman that birthed her would never lend a helping hand.

 

Thus was the reason for her trip up the longest flight of stairs. That, and her love of the stars.

 

They had always been there for her in a way that a parental figure had not been. She could rest her head on her lumpy pillow that was older than she was, and look up at the small sliver of window she could see from her cot. Almost every night, the stars were there, high in the night sky, standing out against the darkness of the late hour. She had spent hours staring at them, counting them, making patterns and shapes out of them as if they were her dolls to play with when she had none. It was in those moments, the part of the night when the clock seemed to stop, when time seemed to hover did Akiva dare to dream that perhaps there was more out there for her, that all she had to do was follow the stars and she'd arrive at it.

 

And then Fjord happened.

 

It was a sin (for Akiva knew all about sins as her mother instructed her on them so thoroughly) for Fjord to take something so sacred, so magical and pure and make a mockery of it. And mock she had. Not a single lesson had been informative, not a single 'fact' she had tried to teach was even remotely true. It was shameful, the lessons had been a disgrace and it had pained the Slytherin to sit through lessons that ripped apart such an important part of her world.

 

And then Rad happened.

 

Akiva wasn't sure how they happened, but they did. Perhaps it started with him randomly talking in her vicinity and her gathering the courage to respond. Perhaps it was the fact that she felt as though he worshiped the stars as much as she did. Perhaps, well, perhaps it was because she had no one else and Rad was there, willing and ready and what more could she ask for?

 

That was how they came to be, climbing the tallest flight of stairs Hogwarts had to offer, twisting and turning, her little legs burning with the effort but refusing to back down because this was important. Their mission was simple: teach themselves more about Astronomy than Fjord did. And since their professor had set the bar so low, the eleven-year-old was sure they'd be able to do this without much effort on their part. Though, looking up at the many stairs they still had left to climb and then back at her partner in crime with their arms full of heavy equipment, she could not deny that there was a great amount of effort being put into this leg of the mission.

 

"It doesn't feel like we've gone very far in the last ten minutes," she heaved, pausing to lean her shoulder against a portrait that was scandalized by her nonchalant attitude towards the occupant. "When did telescopes become so heavy?"

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Professor Forchheimer

"Probably since someone filled the case with rocks." The wave of her wand was deliberately not subtle as Noura conjured rocks inside of Akiva's telescope case and it increased in weight for real. The slight smile on her face would give away the joke, if the first years noticed it.

 

The professor had caught up with the two on their way up to the astronomy tower, and she couldn't rightfully just walk by them. She sized them up seriously. Since they weren't her regular students nor in her house, the best she could give them was that they didn't stand out to her as anyone who had made trouble before. They deserved some credit for the initiative they were taking. At least, they did as long as the telescopes weren't just a cover for romance. They were too young for that, surely, and there were easier ways to find privacy in the castle.

 

"Can I give you a hand?" She offered to take the cases from the two students and would at the very least vanish the rocks once the joke played out. "What are you planning on looking at tonight?"

 

 

You've been invaded! Please let me know if you have something specific in

mind or want me to leave so you can get on with whatever you're plotting.

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Radueriel Benson

It was hard not to feel romantic about the stars. One could wax poetic about their permanence, and another about their impermanence. Yet another could find reason to remark on how even as we look upon them in the present, light years away they have already died. Radueriel Benson liked the stars for two different reasons. On warm summer evenings he would lay beneath them with both his parents, and despite their radically different vantage points Andromache and Gabriel would quietly hold court together and share the stories their faiths had spun about the cosmos. He couldn’t look up at the night sky without thinking of home.

 

Most importantly, however, the stars were beautiful.

 

His eyes always seemed a little too big for his head, but they looked bigger when they filled with starlight. He hated that he couldn’t stare at the sun, its glorious radiance as forbidding as gazing at an angel’s true form. So he settled for the stars with their twinkling compassion, pin pricks like little holes in the fabric of the universe. He used to refuse to sleep and sit out in the garden with his sketchpad and the stars for hours and hours.

 

This was why he had been excited about Astronomy. He could add a third mythos to his collection: Christian, Greek, and now Scientific. Of course, things had not worked out quite like this. Fjord’s competency left much to be desired, and Rad worried that he actually knew less about the universe after taking her class than he did before. The one good outcome from Astronomy had been his friendship with Akiva, a girl who swam (like him) on the outskirts of the Breakfast Squad and who was as displeased by their education as he was. They had bonded completely, and Rad was a little proud of how he’d helped to bring the quiet girl a little further toward the center of their little group.

 

Sitting with Akiva, poking fun at Skagles and all the rest of Fjord’s nonsense, had made a bad situation a little more bearable. And at the end of the term they had made a decision: when they returned from the Christmas holidays, they would take it upon themselves to learn what ought to have been taught. Though all conversations with his mother while home had been tense, leading up to the confrontation months in the making, Rad did manage to ask her if she knew anyone with a second-hand Astronomy textbook he could have. She’d polled her colleagues and found him one, a tattered volume written in the early 2000s, back when poor Pluto was still a planet.

 

But Rad hadn’t counted on how unwieldy it would be to carry both his telescope, in its case, and the book up the long winding staircase of the Astronomy Tower. Akiva seemed to be struggling too, the both of them panting and pausing and sharing exasperated looks every few seconds. Maybe next time they should have Astronomy night on the lawn instead. That would be waaaaayy easier.

 

He was about to respond with something charming and clever, like “It’s the weight of all the knowledge they carry, Akiva!” (Okay… “charming” and “clever”), when a strange-yet-slightly-familiar voice interrupted. Rad turned his head to see Professor Forchheimer, who had once taught the very best Astronomy class for the First Years last term. He watched suspiciously as she flicked her wand, but nothing seemed to happen. He hoped that they wouldn’t get in trouble for this— Rad hadn’t even thought about whether this might be against the rules. “Um… I wanted to see the Bear,” he said with a shrug. He had no idea what Forchheimer’s thoughts on Fjord were, and he figured it was probably best not to say anything judgemental or unkind about her colleague to her face, so… he would leave that factor out of it.

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